Intentional Acts of Kindness

No-Act-of-KindnessI l-o-v-e this!

Kindness.  None of it is ever wasted.  It all contributes to something that is so much greater than the sum of its whole.  So much greater than who we are.  We have every little opportunity to bestow a kindness.  Certain circumstances sometimes rob us of an incentive to do so.  When this happens, if I power past what feels like an obstacle — an I’m-not-feeling-this-in-the-least, it always feels very powerful.  Like I nudged a benevolent particle in the Universe.

Being kind to people we love is easy.  Being kind to those who irritate us or who create chaos in our lives is more challenging.  When I make a conscious choice to act in favor of kindness, I am doing this for the Universe.  For my daughters to have access to a kinder world.  For my sisters, my brother, my friends.  A conscious choice sets the ripples into broader universes.  How cool is all this?

Random acts of kindness are lovely beyond amazing . . . but what about that intentional act of kindness when we aren’t reallykindness golden and fawn feeling it?  This has immense power and reward within the doing.  This is not to advocate for supporting negativity from a damaging relationship. Rather it is for those times when our soul whispers to us to let go of the battle in favor of some inner peace.

I don’t use the word edifying very often, but this is what kindness is.  Merriam Webster defines the verb edify as a way to teach in such a way that someone’s mind or character is improved.  What is one thing you can do today to help someone learn in such an amazing way that their mind or character is improved?  I don’t know about you, but this really humbles me.  What a responsibility it is to go forth into the world every day, knowing that we have the power to improve someone else’s “mind or character.”  


kindness.smile quote
Kindness.  When I used to  think of this word, I would think of synonyms such as gentleness, humility, quietude, peacefulness . . . but I am rearranging my perception of it.  It is roars like a daisy and is powerful beyond measure with the amazing ability to transform and to improve another’s character.  Wow!  This inspires me to want to do my utmost to make a difference as I go into the day and act in terms of kindness.    

 

Who’s your Inner Baby? What do you love to do?

hold-on-to-your-childhood-cause-its-the-only-one-youve-gotWho’s your Inner Baby?  This is a super fun video (1:16) to watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfxB5ut-KTs

We have all read and heard a lot about our Inner Child.  But what about our Inner Baby?  Much gets lost in translation between Babyhood and Toddlerhood.  And on it goes.  Toddlerhood and Tweenhood.  Tweenhood and Teenhood.  Teenhood and Adulthood. Some sense of autonomy or responsibility or conscience or something escalates our levels of self-doubt into radical stages of us double-guessing ourselves.  We gain in experience while our increased awareness of Other lends to added confusion of Self.

I am not a psychologist.  I have not researched what happens to us developmentally while we are growing and being alive.  But I do wonder where my Inner Baby went to.  It is as if something really innocent does get lost as the expectations of society are incrementally imposed.  My sense of spontaneity gets diverted into embracing the ways of politesse.  My sense of joyful random has been  funneled into sit-up-straight-and-behave.

IMG_3680.JPG. paint potsAm I the only one that feels this way?  For example, am I the only one who still gets in trouble every time I go to the museum?  I don’t understand this phenomenon, but every. single. time. I go to the museum, I get scolded for something.  That door isn’t an exit.  Don’t get too close to the painting.  Don’t touch the painting.  Step away from the sculpture.  Don’t take a picture.  Now.  I do know that the doors that are marked in bright red as fire exits are not the acceptable way to locate the restroom.  And I know that breathing on and touching paintings are taboo.  And while I might be checking my phone for the time, it does not follow that I am going to aim and shoot with a damaging flash.  It is really kind of exhausting.

Someone once told me that the reason that I get scolded is that I have long, curly hair.  While I am open to this theory, I do believe that there is something else — perhaps some kind of mischief vibe — that I am giving to the museum’s VSRs.  Maybe it is my Inner-Baby vibe being unleashed without me even realizing it?

It is for the betterment of society that we learn these rules of etiquette.  What a crazy mob scene life would be if we didn’t have this cultural structure  to monitor our words and our actions.

But.  I watch this video, and I can see my inner child being mirrored back to me when I am doing something that I love that is fun and spontaneous.  I love to dance, so this video speaks to me very vividly.  And I can see my Inner Baby when I get out there on the dance floor and shake it.

What do you love to do?  

What is it that you see yourself doing in front of a magic mirror such as the one in the video?  I will refrain from MoonWalking my way through Chihuly’s glass series the next time I go to the museum, but I am going to have a good laugh imagining myself doing so past the docents and the stationed visitor reps.  Time to unleash my Inner Baby and have some fun!

 

Are you caught in Yo-yo Land?

cool swirly yoyoPROMPT: Is there something in your life that you keep doing over and over again — even though you say that you don’t want to do so?  Something that you know is b-a-d for you?  That is blocking your Bliss?  Is there something that you keep returning to, even though you have vowed that you never would? Are you trying to lose weight, and you have fallen victim to yo-yo dieting?  Do you keep going back to that unhealthy relationship that you know will never allow for mutual respect?  Do you return each morning to that unrewarding job with the maniacal boss?  Up and down and all around — going in loops and circles and reversals?

Is there something that you feel mysteriously and inexplicably tethered to — unconsciously or otherwise– that keeps reeling you back in?

We have all heard the metaphor that life is a river.  That you can never step into the same river twice.  That fighting the current expends a great deal of misspent energy.  That if you go with the flow, things will feel easier.  That there are eddies and currents that will befuddle your senses.  That there are drops in the river that will surprise you.  That there are Class IV rapids that will tip your raft and divest you of not only your luxuries but your essentials.  That any ol’ dead fish can float downstream — it takes a live one to go against the current.  Still waters run deep and narrow waters cut deep.  That a waterfall is the unfortunate realization that you have made one helluva big mistake and are in for the ride of your life.

You get the idea.  There are so many wowza metaphors for rivers.  Why?  Because they are cool and powerful and unpredictable and demand a great deal of respect from anyone who ventures into its current.

yellow and blue yoyoBut a yo-yo?  Is a yo-yo cool enough to be a metaphor for life and its crazy trajectories?  Just look at the names of yo-yo tricks: the Sleeper, Rock the Baby, Breakaway, Braintwister, Man on the Flying Trapeze, Around the World, Walk the Dog, Invisi-Whip, Buddha’s Revenge.  Look at all of this coolness that can identify life’s mysteries, demonstrate really amazing skill of movement, and explain how to resolve personal problems.  Feeling stressed?  Walk the Dog.  Feeling restless?  Take a trip Around the World.  Feeling like life has become boring? Be a Woman on the Flying Trapeze.  Feeling unmotivated?  Crack the Invisi-Whip on your Sleeper.

At this point, is anyone else ready to simply drop everything and go buy a yo-yo?

As impressive as some of these tricks may appear to be, I am not so sure that I want to continually be reeled back to Point A.  Or Point B.  Or L-M-N-O-P.  Wait, I just realized: I don’t want to be the yo-yo.  I want to be the Yo-Yo Slinger.  I want to be the one spinning the yo-yo into cosmic fantastic-ness. InternetSlang.com defines YOYO as “You’re on Your Own.”  Well, we are on our own.  I am on my own, the Yo-Yo Master Herself.  Spinning tricks and following the arc.

Lest I get lost in Yo-Yo Land, I pull myself back to my original question:   Is there something in my life that I keep doing over and over again — even though I say that I don’t want to do so?  I might want to pay attention to this.  Or at the very least, get out of Reversal Mode and distract myself properly by buying a yo-yo and googling some youtube videos on how to learn some of these very cool tricks.  I might not only surprise myself with an aptitude that defies gravity but divert myself from the unhealthier tether points in my life.

Yo-yo_player_Antikensammlung_Berlin_F2549

So, how does The Art of Yo-Yo actually translate and guide me on the trajectory of

Life Wisdom?

  1. Around the World –> Get rid of some stuff.  A lot of stuff, actually. Be ready to travel.  And travel light.
  2. Double or Nothing –> Become more habituated to taking risks.  Try Something New every single day.
  3. Over the Falls –> While knowing that life has its share of waterfalls, do not fear the unknown around the bend.
  4. Dizzy Baby –> Don’t be fearful of the tricks of the current.  You will eventually pop out of the eddies.
  5. Stop and Go –> Take time to pay attention and cultivate mindfulness.
  6. Hop the Fence –> Jump the grooves in life.
  7. Forward Pass –> Create your own trajectories and work your own magic.
  8. Wormhole –> Be the Yo-yo Master, not the yo-yo.

 

Do you want to turn your Bad into Badass?

PROMPT: What is the Bad in your life?  Do you have a Bad relationship?  A Bad job?  A Bad boss?  A Bad diet?  A Bad car?  A Bad routine of predictable habit?  A Bad attitude?  A Bad whatever?  Bad, bad, bad. Why do we tend to focus on the Bad?  ayn-rand-quote

Bad can be defined in many ways: something that is inferior, unpleasant, unwelcome, deficient, miserable . . . however your soul defines it, that is what it is.  But how can you turn your Bad into Badass?

The Urban Dictionary defines badass as such:

“The badass carves his own path. He wears, drives, drinks, watches, and listens to what he chooses, when he chooses, where he chooses, uninfluenced by fads or advertising campaigns. Badass style is understated but instantly recognizable. Like a chopped Harley or a good pair of sunglasses: simple, direct, and functional.”

I love this.  It is a defining definition.  It inspires me to get off my patootie and turn things around and in new directions . . . pick up a cool pair of shades and carve  my own path.

When I googled images for Badass, all sorts of violent gestures and expressions appeared.  Vulgar gestures, mean glares, and weapons of minor and mass destruction.  This is not the idea I had in mind for turning Bad into Badass.

far from what I once wasBut I do appreciate the inspiration to Carve My Own Path.  Doing what I choose, when I choose, where I choose — all uninfluenced by trends andunsolicited opinions.  Badass speaks, but does not do so with a megaphone.  It doesn’t take any convincing or wheedling.  It simply is what it is: “. . . simple, direct, and functional.”  I’m getting there.  I’ve got this.

All of this sounds like a recipe for finding your way, discovering your feng shui –> governing your space and details and energy in ways that speak of  “understated but instantly recognizable.”  Sounds good . . . I mean . . . Badass to me.

How does this work in my real Universe?  How can I turn my daily Bad into Badass?  A few things come to mind:

  1. Speak from the promptings of your soul.  Just say Yes.
  2. Do not fear disapproval.  Rather, welcome it.  You just provided someone with the opportunity to do some critical thinking.
  3. Carve your own way.  The verb carve  has many dimensions.  Sculpt.  Create a 3-D version of your life’s Vision.
  4. Step outside your comfort zone.  You never know when you might discover the best (fill-in-the-blank) ever.
  5. Recreate with what is your creativity.  Start with your mind.  Your heart just might follow.
  6. Be willing to laugh at your efforts.  It is sometimes hard to be Badass when you are accustomed to being the Victim.
  7. Be one with your Badass.  “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says:“Oh, sh#@, she’s up!” 
  8. Frank Zappa had it right: Deviate from the norm.  Make some progress that feels Badass.

without deviation from the norm. frank zappa

What is the natural order in your life?

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PROMPT: What is the natural order in your life?  

What is it that you do first before you think?  

What is that one thing that spontaneously drives you beyond having to stop, think, clarify, justify? Prioritize, verbalize, intellectualize, organize, strategize  . . . ?

What is that one thing that just pops into your mind?

Do you do this thing every day?  Once a week?  A month?  A year?  On Halloween?  On New Year’s Eve?  On your birthday?  Ever?  Never?  And if not ever, what is stopping you from doing it right now?

What is my natural order?  What is it that I do first before I even have to think about it?  It is exactly as Samuel Beckett has written: DANCE.  I love to dance.  I love to dance because when I do, time literally stops.  Any sense of time vaporizes, and I am caught in a moment of no-overthinking, no-planning.  I don’t think about my job, my current relationship, my to-do list, my chores, my student loans and other pressing bills.  I don’t think about having to set the alarm for the morning or needing to feed my kefir grains.  I don’t regret saying no to that someone who is always wanting me to over-commit to yes.  I don’t blame myself for making that mistake earlier in the day.  I give up the guilt that prevents me from experiencing my natural order.

I just dance.  I am no longer thinking and processing.  I am doing.  I am living my natural order.  When the music is really perfect for dancing, I have stayed out waaay too late on a work night.  I have returned to ex-boyfriends because the perfect song caught us on the dance floor together.  I once smoked a kretek after a night of dancing with a really Bad Boy.  [I feel so transparent confessing this!  If you knew me, you would know that this was a really out-there thing for me to do.]

Consequences of living your natural order?  Of course.  All of life has consequences.  What I do creates the experiences that form who I am.  But when I embrace my natural order, I am no longer a human doing; I have become a human being.  I want to be in my life.  I want to respond to my natural order.

What is the natural order of your life?  What is it that you do before you think?

If you were to take at least one chance, what would it be?

PROMPT: If you were to take at least one chance, what would it be?  What would you do?  Take at least one. Chance.

I feel so convicted.  So very convicted.   To the core of my very innards.  Is it simply butterflies that I am feeling?  Is it a massive infiltration of pure fear being infused into my molecules?  Is it a state of confusion that I am experiencing because I cannot answer this question with a single, spontaneous response?

Should it be a single, spontaneous response?  Is this “chance” supposed to look like a pop of color on a canvas or is it part of a plan — all mapped out with color-coded push pins on my vision board?  Am I the only one who feels this way when asked this question? Please, someone. Anyone.

Wait.  There is only one question here.  Only one.  I catch myself wanting to answer in outline form in my Thinking Pad.   I want to get out my Green Trails map and examine the topography of the trail ahead of me.  I want to know how many miles it is to the overlook.  I want to know the point where the trail flattens out a bit.  How many switchbacks are on this trail?  And what is the elevation gain?  Have I brought enough water?  Did I bring enough sustenance?  Wait, is my boot starting to rub a blister?

I write this and know how terribly apprehensive I sound.  I love being alive and having fun and dancing and doing crazy things with friends and meeting new people and learning new music and traveling alone and learning new skills and . . .

switchbacks. West_Rim_Trail_Zion_NPSA moment of clarity tells me that I am turning all of this into a gale-force force-field analysis.  It is true, in a desire to cultivate mindfulness, that I like to focus on what matters to me: Do I focus on the summit? The next switchback?  The trillium and skunk cabbage along the trail?  And how many switchbacks are on this trail?  What is the elevation gain?  If I knew that there were going to be 49 switchbacks with a 4000-foot elevation gain, would I be tempted to turn around and find an alternative route?  An alternative peak altogether?

Does life really need to be analyzed and dissected, answer by answer, or is it a journey that involves choices that are made one small, sustainable,sometimes risky step at at time?  I think of the time when I hiked up some crazy-steep trail in the French Alps.  It was an epic effort but so satisfying to reach the top. As for taking one chance today?  I’ve got this.  Easy.

Back to the question:

If you were to take at least one chance, what would it be?   

My answer: Yes.  Yes to the summit, the switchbacks, the skunk cabbage, the blisters.  I am going to look to the summit and hang the switchbacks.  I’ll pick huckleberries and identify flowers that are new to me.  I know what it is I want.  I have a vision.  I can see it and I can smell it and I can feel how good it feels to be on the path.  And I want it.  I want to take that chance now, please.

mt shuksan and rock arch

 

 

 

What is your favorite word?

PROMPT: What is your favorite word?  Is there a word that spontaneously comes to mind?  What are some of the reasons that it is your favorite word?

I love looking up words, so I have a big, fat dictionary stashed under my couch.  It might seem a random place to store it, but it is a very handy location.  I can tug at a corner of its spine and drag it out, dust the cat and dog hair off its cover, and voila: the vast universe of English definitions and etymology is at my fingertips.

dictionary spine

The spine of this dictionary is spent from such abuse.  I would place it in a more revered place — but it is so thick, there is no room on my crowded bookshelves for it.  And there is no rational explanation as to why I store it under the couch.  Maybe I was tidying up before dinner company arrived one time, and I wanted my desk to look more tidy.  I can’t remember.  It has remained hidden there long enough to create a habit of storage.  I rarely dig it out to look up a word . . . now preferring the convenience of the “define: whatever” function in Google.

This dictionary has been bumped around by the vacuum, has survived periodic floods of red wine and other beverages, and has had close encounters of the fuzzy kind from the myriad dust bunnies that reproduce at an astronomical rate.  I sometimes feel guilty when I bop it with the vacuum or shove it further from view when company comes over.  There is a wealth of information in this tome.  Just thinking about my cavalier attitude shames me into considering a new place for it to rest.

My favorite word?

 Experience 

I just love this word.  It is so full and enriching and alive.  It is ambrosia.  It encompasses our perceptions, our beliefs, our assumptions, our loves, our errors, our forgiveness, our learning, our teaching.  It projects into the future, embraces the present, and builds on the past.  There is so much time in this word.  So many dimensions of time.  It is simultaneously eternal and present in any given nano second.  It is both creative and stable.  It can be embroidered with lacy fibs to make a story better.  It can serve as a sage advisor.  It can prove to be an insane springboard into the unknown.  It blows our perceptions of time out of the Milky Way.

I used to date a scientist.  One of his hobbies was to sit in his chair in a dark room and ponder the universe and the various dimensions.  In these quiet hours, he came up with a breakthrough scientific theory that I thought was fairly plausible, at least to my neophyte’s understanding of dark matter and ordinary matter and  black holes and universal space and time.

He painstakingly laid out the particulars of how it all worked, and I was really impressed.  Truly, I didn’t mean to blow a hole in his hours and days and weeks of pondering when I asked him, “But what’s the point? What is the meaning of it all if there isn’t any reference of experiential and emotional and personal connection?”

I have to hand it to him.  He didn’t perceive me as one of those naysaying hole-pokers trying to assassinate his theory.  His response to my question was eloquent and beautiful: “Hmmph.”

I saw him a few nights later and, after many hours in his chair in a dark room, he said that he figured out how Experiential Connection figured into the swirly mix of our Milky Way.  He had some kind of answer for it all, about how our experiences plugged up certain holes in the Universe.  I am sure that his more technical language accounted for a more elegant way of explaining how it all comes together, but this is what I took away from his rather long explanation:

our future experiences of connection represent the dark matter

that balances with what is termed as “ordinary matter” throughout infinity

In retrospect, I am sure that my interpretation does not quite embody what he was saying.  But it all makes sense somehow.  I finally asked him, “How can there be ordinary matter?  Doesn’t all matter have remarkable significance?”  He didn’t have an answer as to why it is called ordinary, but I suspect that these questions made for some extra sitting time in his dark room.

It all counts.  The seen and the unseen.  The real and the invisible real. The ordinary and the dark.  I find it fascinating to think that it is possible that there is 10 times more dark matter than visible matter in space.  That is a lot of matter that I am not seeing.  Just thinking about it motivates me to Pay Attention.

I am not explaining it very well.  I am not an astrophysicist.  I am merely a student of life who has learned that cultivating mindfulness matters.  That my experiences matter.  I want to connect.  I want to experience Experience with a capital E.

It is said that there are roughly one million words in the English language.  I would suspect that the world wide web would have a difficult time corralling so many permutations of any single word.  Merriam-Webster chimes in with the following:

“There is no exact count of the number of words in English, and one reason is certainly because languages are ever expanding; in addition, their boundaries are always flexible.?”  (http://www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq/total_words.htm)

In other words, language is expanding as rapidly as my ex-boyfriend’s explanation of what happens with dark matter in the Universe.  Language expands and it is infinite.  There are probably 10 times more thoughts and concepts and feelings and experiences than what the English language can account for.  This makes sense to me.

So today, my favorite word is e-x-p-e-r-i-e-n-c-e.  I embrace the Universal dimensions that this word represents.  Dark matter is like a placeholder in the Universe for us as we face the unknown in our world — the unseen frontiers.  So many experiences to build.  So much dark matter to Experience.

van-gogh-starry-night-vincent-van-gogh

Who is conducting your life’s tempo?

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PROMPT: Is there someone or something in your life that is dictating your unique tempo?  A conductor who is in charge of the baton?  What is your tempo?

Tempo is the speed at which a passage of music is (or is intended to be) played at.  The notes, the dynamics, the tempo markings on the page direct us to celebrate not only the originality of the composer but his musical imagination of time and place as well.

The conductor provides the musicians with leadership in interpreting such originality and imagination.  I would imagine that it takes a lot of skill to feel the difference between hearing a passage played in a dignified largo or in the slightly slower and overlapping tempo of larghetto — and then convey such subtlety while waving a thin stick in the air.  Pretty tricky stuff.  After all, what would it be like if the horn section was playing a piece of music larghissimo and the strings were playing the same piece vivace at the same time?  What a muddle this would be.  The equivalent of fingernails scraping  the bottom of an aluminum bread pan.  Ouch.

Dissonance would occur.  Chaos would ensue.  The music would go splat.  We would all be wishing we had brought ear plugs.  The music would be distorted and not appreciated.  The composer would be thoroughly and unfairly dissed in a review.  Mahler, Debussy, Berlioz . . . they would all be understandably ticked — their masterpieces trounced.

But life is not a symphony on the page.  It is an organic composition that we are constantly composing and conducting.  What is the tempo of this moment?  Of today? What was the tempo of this past week?  Month?  Year?  How do I want to change things up?  Do I want to change things up?  For some of us, we want to add more presto to our lento.  Others of us, more adagio to our allegro.  There are those few I know who have discovered the secret of andante, just moving along at walking pace and taking in the view.

When it comes to life and its intricate and dynamic composition, who is conducting its tempo in your life?  When do you go with the flow of things for “the sake of”  and when do you fire the conductor and make your own fun?

Some days, I feel as if there are an inordinate amount of choices to make.   Jobs to quit and moves to make.  Adventures to invite and trips to take.  Dates to accept and relationships to end.  Boundaries to set or to release.  A small and puny voice inside whispers that it would be so easy to just hand over the baton and say, “Here.  Please.  Figure it out and then direct as you see best to interpret.”

But then the question begs to be asked: Who is truly in charge here?  Who did I inadvertently or intentionally or voluntarily appoint as my life’s conductor? And who is setting my tempo?  Do I I give the stick to some self-appointed authority or do I merrily swing the baton with the wild abandon that life’s music deserves?

conductor pattern

Whew.  Some days even the harmony and stability of consonance  do not have the seductive power to sway me away from the transitional instability of dissonance.  There is something just so seductive about eradicating the tick-tock of the metronome and marking time up and down and all around.  Swing yer partner!  [True confession: I don’t know if I am embarrassed or proud to report that I was once meanly ostracized at a square dance for having too much frivolous fun while others were trying to dance squares to the beat.  Not my best night of dancing, to be sure, and I certainly did not feel compelled to return for more free lessons.  But I did learn a lot that night: sometimes “free” costs more than I can afford.  Sometimes more than I want to afford.]

So. Continue in your tempo and ignore the conductor.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  To the boyfriend who is trying to solve your life problems.  To the family member who knows what is best for you.  To the boss who thinks your creative ideas are a drain on his brain.  To the grumpy man at the square dance in the taco-shell hat and the snap-down checkered shirt with a lot of points.  To anyone who thinks that their perceptions of truth are the best match for you and your tempo.

Life is hoofing it by in prestissimo.   And there are times when I want to trade in my zen for yeehaw.  I want to break the baton over my knee, kick up my heels, and have a hoot, even when it is deemed inappropriate.  Yell “Huzzah” for no visible reasons.  Invent and claim my tempo.

 

Prompt: What do you like about your Alone Self?

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PROMPT: What do you like about your Alone Self?  When was the last time you spent some time with your Alone Self?

These questions lead me to tap on my soul’s door and say: “Is anyone home in there?  Where have you been?”  Wait . . . where have I been?

And then the door opens . . .

Who do I see?  What is she doing?  What does the room look like?  What is the lighting like? Is there candlelight?  Is she listening to music?  If so, who is on her playlist?  What color(s) are the walls?   Are the floors bare or are there rugs?  What pictures are hanging on the wall? Are there muddy running shoes by the door?  Are there musical instruments?  Is it some kind of laboratory with an experiment brewing — test tubes and beakers bubbling over?  Is there a snowboard leaning against the wall?  What does the hearth area look like?  Are there books and papers piled on the table?  Is it bare?  Is it set for one?  Or two?  Or more?

Just writing these questions takes me on an expedition that leads me to better understand that which makes me who I am and that which I continue to create out of my passions and interests and fancies.  My definition of fun lies in this room, and the person who opens the door has been awaiting my knock.

As I answer these questions, I take a journey into what it is I love about being alive.  It is these things that I like about myself.  I like that I light an inordinate number of candles when I am feeling stressed.  I like being able to look at my wall of vintage and unplayable mandolins, knowing that someone once made music in them before the necks became too warped to play any longer.  If you look just so, you can see ethereal notes of music past drifting out of their sound holes.  I like using my stairway leading upstairs as my filing system for my research: a step for every barely-started project.  I like seeing my collection of high heels haphazardly strewn about my closet and bedroom: this means I am wearing them.  I like laughing with my loved ones, sometimes at really inappropriate times.  I like that I keep at least two pairs of dance shoes in my truck at all times, one black pair and one red pair.   Although my kitchen may smell funny, I like making my own kefir and kombucha.

As I think about what lies within and as I enjoy what I see, I now see my soul’s room as being inordinately messy and cluttered and hodge-podgey.  No wonder I feel this way in my real life.  Wait . . . this is my real life.  And this is all good.  It adds to my sense of self and to my sense of connection to others.  It is I who has created all of this . . .  um . . . creativity.  And maybe it is time for some Spring Cleaning, but this looks like a really fun place in which to create and to be today.  To be with my Alone Self.

A few questions for you:

What do you like about your Alone Self?

What do you see when your soul opens the door?  What does it feel like?  What does it look like?

After visiting this room, what do you like even better about your Alone Self?

Blessings to you today as you explore the hidden and unseen passages to your soul’s door.  Perhaps it is along this circuitous journey where I make the biggest connections with my Alone Self.  Boosh and Bwoom!  Momentary flashes of discovery lighting my way.

Liking my Alone Self allows me to extend myself to others and make connections that I might have missed, if I am not mindful of  keeping the soul’s door open.  That is the beauty of spending time with yourself: when you return to your Others Self, you have decided if you are going to keep the door closed or prop it open with a stone.  Today, the door is flung wide open.  Bliss ensues.

open-door

 

 

 

Prompt: “Is there something that you have always wanted to do . . . but haven’t?”

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PROMPT: Want to shake things up?  Want a burst of inspiration?  “Is there something you’ve always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven’t?  Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days.”

Watch this short TED talk (3:27) on trying something new in your life for 30 days:

http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days

Would you like to Try Something New for 30 days?

What one new thing would you like to add to your life for 30 days?

What one thing would you like to subtract from your life for 30 days?

I asked a group of people these questions, and the responses were inspiring.  Ride a bike on a 4-mile loop everyday.  Take one special photograph everyday. Make meaningful connections with family.  Discover a new recipe each day for dinner.  Learn how to speak German.  Meditate.

“Adding to” one’s life focused on the many positives that we dream about having time to do but haven’t quite figured out how to wedge into the day . . . to really experience them and luxuriate in them and to feel their added benefits and blessings.  “Adding to” involves dreaming about and ultimately realizing those desirable priorities that seem to elude us with incredible grace and ease.

For most of the group, thinking of an “add to” took considerable thought and time.  Everyone in the group wanted to make this question work for him or her.  We all wrote our somethings down on paper.  Scribbling the power of the written word, even onto a scrap of paper, can prove to be a daunting task. How often do we take the time to ask ourselves, “What is that I want to add to my life to enhance it?  What is it that I am willing to prioritize, truly prioritize, in order to feel a sense of fulfillment?”

Thinking of what to subtract from one’s life seemed relatively easy: watching Netflix, eating sugar, smoking cigarettes, drinking red wine, gossiping, cussing, being negative, procrastinating, going to bed earlier, guzzling Red Bull each morning, breaking up with a bad boyfriend, falling asleep on the couch, eating junk after 8:00 at night.

These things involve current habits and behaviors that we know are not adding to our lives . . . still, we persist in the activity and say that we want different.  If I know that it isn’t good for me, why do I keep doing it so blithely?

How revolutionary and satisfying it would be to discover how GREAT it feels to allow ourselves to experience that which we know we want and to eliminate that which we know we do not want.  However, deciding to actually do something about it takes some soul revving.

It sounds so simple: just stop.  Eliminate it.  But such actions require thought and discipline.  And, I believe, a measure of courage, too.  We lean on tradition and habit and deep grooves that guide us throughout the day.  What if we all just said, “Enough!” and got on board with that something new that has the potential to revolutionize our lives?

My add?  Play my fiddle every single day for 30 days.  My dog is a crooner whenever I pick up the fiddle.  He sings, howls, and emotes his way through any song I play.  He sits at my feet, throws back his head, and howls.  My solution to this rather unnerving deterrant: ear plugs.  For me.  Not the dog.  I have tried shutting the door on him, but this only generates more howling.  He really wants to be part of the experience.  So be it.  I’ve got this.

My subtract?  I am resisting!  Subtract sugar for 30 days.  Oh my . . . I wrote that out loud.  And in bold.  Looks like I am committed!  The power of my own words convict me.  This is going to be very, very interesting.  I am not a sugar junkie, but sugar is in so. many. things.  This exercise will create a new mindfulness about what I eat.  An added benefit.

Anyone else want to join me?  We can start today and share our experiences on May 24.  I am excited!  Let’s see what kind of revolution we can create by Trying Something New.